Sunday, April 3, 2011

Climate change - you must believe!

Climate change - it turned out to just make an awesome setting with lots of adventure!
Okay, a little bit off the beaten track. But years ago as a young man I found out something pretty amazing about scientific endeavour. The idea behind it was that they could do experiment X a million times and get result Y, BUT on the million and first time, perhaps they would get result X! There's always that next test and maybe it'd get some other result.

And I know what your feeling - is this a ... gasp, climate denier post? Heck, even I get that queasy feeling writing it!

But that's my very point. The real practice of science isn't to tell you what to think. It drops a ton of evidence on your desk, but it leaves you to decide, as an individual. Indeed that's probably the only difference between science and religion - science doesn't tell you it's right, it gives you evidence and leaves you alone to decide. Horribly, horribly alone! But as alone as we all like to tell ourselves were individuals.

So what has the general idea of climate change become? Particularly when you are told to believe it's the case or your a 'denier'! I mean jeez, I can't think of a term more classically connected with religion than 'denier'! Thoust would deny god!!!1!?

Okay, I BET climate change is real. Like a gambler laying a bet on a horse. Here I think, if it's the wrong bet, well it'll mean less pollution at least, even if the effort didn't matter. And if the bet is right, well we don't have a second earth to traipse over to - this is apocalypse time! Or at least for humans living in the numbers they do now and the quality of life (and the level of thinking - oh, that'd slide back down the ladder, I bet). Like roaches, I have a hard time imagining our genetic line ending...but it becomes not a question of survival, but how much like monsters you become in order to survive. How much like roaches?

I live in a land of probabilities, I live in the land of choosing the 95%+ seemingly likely result. But there's always a 5 percent chance or even a fraction of a percent chance of just being wrong in my bet. But I also live with a part of me which gets queasy at the idea of questioning climate change (or to be more accurate, the common depiction of climate change) even a bit.

And I play the odds of whether that part of me is going to lurch forward at any particular moment and dominate my actions with its bloody minded, can't be wrong attitude. Because belief can never be wrong - that's what makes it a belief!

While others, when that part lurches forward, they feel the good feeling of knowing what is right and true!

Because belief always feels that way! But that's no better than someone who just firmly believes climate change isn't real.

I'd love to make you think the same way I do. But much like science, I'll drop this evidence off and ask 'Hmm, what do you think? Not on climate change itself, but in the very way people act out on the matter?'.

Speaking of my own beliefs that lurch up, this video from Penn and Tellers Bullshit series on recycling gave me a kick in the guts...wait no, aren't I supposed to be considering the evidence, rather than just assuming their right...there I go again. I guess it's fairly high odds of that part of me lurching forth!

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